Agricultural Productivity and Structural Transformation. Evidence from Brazil

51 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2014 Last revised: 17 Jun 2015

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 1, 2015


We study the effects of the adoption of new agricultural technologies on structural transformation. To guide empirical work, we present a simple model where the effect of agricultural productivity on industrial development depends on the factor bias of technical change. We test the predictions of the model by studying the introduction of genetically engineered soybean seeds in Brazil, which had heterogeneous effects on agricultural productivity across areas with different soil and weather characteristics. We find that technical change in soy production was strongly labor saving and led to industrial growth, as predicted by the model.

Keywords: Agricultural Productivity, Structural Transformation, Industrial Development, Labor Saving Technical Change, Genetically Engineered Soy

JEL Classification: F16, F43, O14, Q16

Suggested Citation

Bustos, Paula and Caprettini, Bruno and Ponticelli, Jacopo, Agricultural Productivity and Structural Transformation. Evidence from Brazil (June 1, 2015). Chicago Booth Research Paper No. 14-07, Fama-Miller Working Paper , Available at SSRN: or

Paula Bustos

CREI; Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Barcelona GSE ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005

Bruno Caprettini

University of Zurich ( email )


Jacopo Ponticelli (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2211 Campus Dr
Evanston, IL 60208
United States


NBER ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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